Check in Friday for our 2008 player of the year and all-city selections. We're aiming for three pages in the print edition and Web guru Dustin Michael Harris is working on some cool online aspects. At that point, feel free to tell us how clueless we are for ignoring Player X instead of Player Y. But now that the IHSA has crowned eight state champions and the 2008 season is in the books, what are your standout moments from this year? And who do you think will be the 2009 player of the year?
Recently in Playoffs Category
LISLE - Check back soon for real-time updates from Benedictine University.
CHICAGO - Check in around 6:45 p.m. for real-time updates from Gately Stadium.
This Game of the Week preview incorrectly identified Naperville Central as the sixth seed in Friday night's playoff game against Mount Carmel. The No. 11 Redhawks will take on the sixth-seeded Caravan at Gately Stadium. And I'd be surprised if that's actually Clint Woods in the photo. Not sure what exactly happened, but both errors are inexcusable - I apologize. We'll make it up the rest of the playoffs.
At The Office, before the 2008 season began, we guessed the number of victories each program would finish with, and how the DuPage Valley Conference would play out. Those projections fall comfortably on the laughable-to-accurate range, though this weekend could change that assessment.
Let's start with "What Went Wrong":
Team: Neuqua Valley (4-5)
Staffer: Paul LaTour
Prediction: 6 wins
The quote: "(A) return to the playoffs should be in the offing for Neuqua."
The bright side: LaTour now has a new nugget for historical reference, such as: "The last time the Wildcats were eliminated from playoff consideration in a presidential election year after a game that ended with a combined final score less than the integer 21 was 2008."
Team: Benet (2-7)
Staffer: Sean Fuchs
Prediction: 5 wins
The quote: "With five teams on the schedule that won eight or more games last year, including Class 6A state champion Joliet Catholic, the Redwings will do well to get those five victories."
The bright side: Fuchs no longer covers Benet and has taken his demented sense of humor to Bolingbrook. Here's how he led a recent column on The Brook: "Going undefeated in the regular season is a great accomplishment. It also means nothing."
And continue with "What Might Go Wrong":
This morning Paul LaTour analyzes the Upstate Eight Conference and how it has historically struggled in the postseason. R.J. Gerber of The Courier News agrees, saying that undefeated Bartlett has something to prove in Class 8A.
The Naperville North program has already earned that respect, but if it is to repeat, then it may at some point have to lean more on its passing game. Its road back to Champaign could go through 9-0 Bolingbrook, which, as Bill Scheibe of The Herald News explains, has a strong secondary.
And finally Stephen Spiewak of MaxPreps shares his three games in 24 hours odyssey, which began at Harshbarger-Welzel Field last Friday.
Straight from the IHSA, a wide-angle view of the Class 8A field:
State Champions (any class)
10 Mt. Carmel
2 Naperville North
2 Maine South
1 Brother Rice
1 Downers Grove South
1 Frankfort Lincoln-Way East
1 Naperville Central
1 Lincoln-Way Central
1 Loyola Academy
Class by Record
9-0: 4 teams
8-1: 5 teams
7-2: 9 teams
6-3: 9 teams
5-4: 5 teams
Big & Small (Enrollment)
Big: Lane (6745)
Small: Schaumburg (2575)
Veteran & Rookie
25th playoff appearance for Mt. Carmel and Simeon
8th playoff appearance for Lincoln-Way East
Consecutive Appearances (min. 10)
23 Mt. Carmel
17 Maine South
14 Lincoln-Way Central
12 Downers Grove South
12 Naperville North